UNC305: OCS 14 Setup and Deployment

This was a fairly dry session covering the setup and deployment of OCS 14. I won’t go through all of the somewhat boring details, but will cover a few juicy tidbits that I learned.

– The Setup of OCS 14 is a completely new experience, 100% different than any previous version of OCS/LCS.

– The presence database is extremely sensitive to performance issues and it should be accessed entirely from memory on the SQL server. If the database is not entirely in memory users can experience delays in presence updates.

– Front-end and back-end servers should have two NICs, at least 1Gb in speed. This is to separate OCS traffic from general traffic such as RDP and backups.

OCS 14 supports Server 2008 R2 read-only DCs, but doesn’t gain any benefit from them.

– Service accounts have been eliminated. OCS services now run as “network service”. This breaks Kerberos authentication, so if you need to use Kerberos instead of NTLM then you need to do some manual configuration steps.

– There is a tool called the topology builder that asks you a lengthy series of questions about what your OCS topology will look like, roles, hostnames, SIP domains, etc. It uses this information to build you a visual diagram of what your OCS topology will look like. It also asks capacity questions, and level of redundancy required. You then export this information into another tool that creates a configuration database. When you go and setup the additional OCS servers it uses this topology information to pretty much automate the remaining OCS server installs. This whole concept of pre-building a topology and then automating server installs is very slick and the first time I’ve ever seen this method. Maybe future versions of Exchange or SharePoint will use this method?

– There a new wizard for configuring OCS certificates. OCS certificates are always very tricky given all of the hosts, pool names, hardware load balancer names, etc. So this wizard asks you about all of these details, pre-populates many values, then can submit the request online to a CA or create a certificate request file for offline usage. Very slick and should ease a lot of problems with certificates.

Although the presenter was showing beta code, the setup seemed fairly straight forward and radically different than any other Microsoft product. I look forward to trying out a beta to see how well it really works.

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